Geography may claim to have a number of objectives, including
an understanding of the unique characteristics of a landscape: the interrelationships that exist between peoples as well as between humankind and its immediate environment; and to attempt an explanation of the patterns of location and subsequent spatial interaction.
Over the last thirty years, geography has developed a sound quantitative approach to analysis that enables the discipline to view the landscape from an objective platform. Statistical methodology is today an integral part of the subject and has enabled geography to be viewed as both a science and an art. It would seem that the complexities in the study of humankind and the landscape need both subjective and objective modes of inquiry.
Much that is geography involves an appreciation of cultural landscapes that in themselves are reflections of the physical, economic, political, and social mechanisms that forge a peoples identity. Regional geography allows the student an opportunity to secure a sense of place, whether it be an appreciation of the raw energy in evidence on a crowded Hong Kong street or the appealing certainly of an age-old tradition as a Bedouin is summoned to prayer. Indeed, to discuss and better yet to experience and absorb a sense of place, is to know the essence of geography. It may be possible in ones life to know few places intimately, but, from such an insight springs a greater understanding of things rarely touched and viewed from afar. Geography seeks to unfurl our intimacy with the landscape and in so doing inspire a respect for that landscape in all its splendor and in all its shortcomings.
Geography, as a spatial science, is constantly trying to analyze patterns of location and distribution and the many elements that are intertwined to produce a dynamic observed landscape. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that the map should be such a vital tool within the study of geography. In all classes, map work plays an important role and helps the student to more fully comprehend the spatial organization of both human and physical landscapes.
Geographic inquiry allows the
individual an opportunity to secure a more intimate
knowledge of the local environment and, in so doing, a
view of the wider world is enhanced.